Can wearing contacts increase your chances of catching COVID-19?

Switching to eyeglasses could prevent exposure

There’s a lot of information and misinformation out there about the coronavirus, so Local 4 is letting viewers submit questions so we can find verified answers.

Dr. Frank McGeorge wants to verify or refute any information about the coronavirus, but there are also some questions experts still don’t know the answer to. McGeorge is discussing them because acknowledging what we don’t know is just as important as verifying information so people don’t rely on incorrect answers.

Can wearing contacts increase your chances of catching COVID-19?

Yes. Experts believe wearing contact could increase your risk of exposure to coronavirus.

You can become infected if coronavirus gets in your eyes and because of that, the American Academy of Ophthalmology recommends users wear glasses whenever possible.

There are two reasons for that.

“Many people who wear contact lenses find themselves touching their eyes to adjust the lenses,” said Dr. George Williams, the chair of Ophthalmology at Beaumont Royal Oak. “We obviously are in a period with the pandemic where we want to avoid touching our face as much as possible.”

Also, since coronavirus can hang in the air for a period of time, wearing glasses provides an additional barrier between your eyes and the world.

If you do need to wear your contact lenses, use extra caution.

“For individuals who must wear their contacts, it’s critical that they exercise meticulous hand hygiene,” Williams said.

That means washing your hands for the recommended 20 seconds or more before and after touching your lenses.

The bottom line is that switching to your glasses is a safer option overall right now -- especially if you’re going out in a public place.

About the Author

Dr. McGeorge can be seen on Local 4 News helping Metro Detroiters with health concerns when he isn't helping save lives in the emergency room at Henry Ford Hospital.

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